The most popular fantasy hockey pool host quietly opened on the weekend, and there are a few rankings that leaves me scratching my head.
The Yahoo draft layout uses three different sets of rankings: The expert pre-season rankings, the ranking based on league settings, and the average draft position. Note that the autodraft uses the expert rankings.
All three have rankings that are a little off, but the one that is based on league settings has some doozies. Below are 10 players that are too low based on those rankings. The categories for those settings are goals, assists, plus/minus, PIM, power play points and shots on goal for forwards and defensemen and wins, GAA, SV % and shutouts for goalies.
10. Justin Faulk
At 25 years old, Faulk’s prime seasons are still ahead of him. He’s the number one power-play quarterback on an up-and-coming squad. He logs a ton of minutes and is one of the league’s best goal-scoring defensemen (he’s sixth in the league in goals by a defenseman in the last three years combined). Somehow, he’s ranked 229th in Yahoo rankings. His plus-minus should be much better this year and his 13 power play points should also see a significant uptick.
9. P.K. Subban
There’s no way Subban should be the 18th-highest ranked defenseman (117th overall) in any league. He can score, pile up points, shoot, hit, chip in PIM and be a consistent power-play contributor. He may be an off-ice distraction, but that shouldn’t matter when it comes to your fantasy squad. He may not win any more Norris trophies, but he’s a shoo-in for 50 points, 200 shots, 100 hits and 20 power play points.
8. Nick Leddy
It seems strange that Leddy would be ranked so low at 256th overall. He’s been excellent since joining the Islanders three years ago and has seen improvements in many fantasy-related categories since then, most importantly in the points category. He was on the ice for 65.6 per cent of the Islanders power-play time last year and doesn’t have anyone to challenge for that spot. He could reach 50 points for the first time this year.
7. Evander Kane
Kane’s ranking of 100 would be too high for points only leagues, but it’s actually low when it comes to leagues with peripherals. Kane is a beast when it comes to shots, PIMs, and hits and he’s always a threat for 25 goals. He needs to get consistent power play time to take that next step, but there’s no need to wait so long to draft a guy who will contribute in many ways.
6. Shayne Gostisbehere
A lot of fantasy general managers wanted to dump Ghost after a sophomore season saw a decline in goals, points, plus-minus, and power-play goals. That could be why he has a Yahoo ranking of 228. He’s still the top power play quarterback on the Flyers, likes to take a ton of shots and has a new long-term contract. His salary isn’t enough to ensure he’ll always be the golden boy in Philly, but it’s enough for him to have a head start over other Flyers defensemen.
Another defenseman ranked too low — 156th overall — based on one poor season last year. I wouldn’t put money on OEL finishing below 40 points again. Besides that, there’s a lot of things to like about the Coyotes’ top defenseman for this year: His plus-minus is bound to be higher than the minus-25 he had last season, he should break 20 power-play points again and his shot rate - a dismal 145 shots last year, down from 200-plus average - should shoot back up.
4. Steve Mason
Mason’s stock has fallen dramatically, but this is too drastic a drop. Mason has signed in Winnipeg to be, at worst, a time-share goalie but has a very good opportunity to be the main guy. So why does Yahoo have him ranked 351st overall and the 59th-worst goalie, behind netminders such as Alex Stalock, Joonas Korpisalo and Aaron Dell? That’s way too low, and you can get incredible value if you draft him with your last-round pick.
Stamkos used to be a sure-fire top-five pick. This year is completely different. The experts have him ranked 29, his rank based on the categories is 54th and his average draft position is 34th. That’s excellent value if you can snag him in the third round. Stamkos’ biggest issue is his health as he’s missed significant time in the last few years with blood clots, a broken leg, and a knee injury. However, he can still score, loves to shoot and is a power play phenom.
2. Jake Guentzel
Guentzel is one of those rare players that is ranked too low across all three categories: The experts have him at 120, his rank based on the categories is 99 and his average draft position is 151. That’s just insane. Guentzel was excellent as a rookie last year in both the regular season (33 points in 40 games) and the playoffs (21 points) and has shown chemistry with both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. There’s no way the left-winger should be lasting until 13th round in a 12-team league.
Schneider fell hard last year, posting career-lows in GAA and SV% and finishing with a 20-27-11 record with just two shutouts. So, Schneider’s value has dropped as well, and he is ranked 182nd (24th for goalies) in Yahoo. Let’s not forget how great he was from 2013-14 to 2015-16. In those three years, he was tied for second in save percentage (minimum 50 games) and third for GAA. Last year was an aberration for Schneider and he should be back on track this year.
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